Label printer applicators challenged by speed, box-height variability

Latest printer applicators engineered for high-speed, e-commerce parcel labeling can minimize downtime.

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E-commerce shippers face three main challenges with automatic label printing and application with in- and out-bound packages, says Chris Erbach, marketing communications manager at Weber Packaging Solutions: speed, box-height variability, and downtime.

“They’re handling so many orders with customer expectations for quick delivery and they need to move items through fast,” he explains. “But, they’re selling so many different items that there is relatively little consistency in terms of size—yet they have to get the same label on each package in a consistent location.”

Although it’s possible to pre-sort parcels by height before they reach the labeler, it requires an extra handling step that many facilities would prefer to avoid. Likewise, downtime is another challenge such operations seek to minimize.

“Having a label printer applicator break down and stop the line can be extremely costly,” Erbach continues, “which is why many invest in more than one machine for redundancy. If the primary unit stops, the back-up immediately takes over.”

For many printer applicators, repairs can be time and labor intensive, often requiring the unit to be removed, taken apart and fixed elsewhere on the site.

To address these challenges, Weber recently introduced the L-A 6000 high-speed, variable-height label printer applicator to the North American market. It uses the tamp-blow method to print and apply up to 40 labels per minute to products that vary in height up to 19.68 inches.

A sensor determines the height of the approaching product for labeling, triggering the applicator to move to the correct position at high-speed. “This reduces the travel distance for label application, allowing the unit to label more accurately and up to 50% faster than a printer applicator with a pneumatically driven cylinder,” adds Erbach.

Additionally, the unit is based on modular construction; should one part of the machine fail, an in-house technician can quickly swap out that component line-side, without moving the machine. This feature keeps downtime to a minimum and can even eliminate the need for a back-up unit, adds Erbach.

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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